‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ actor James Avery dies at 68

US actor James Avery, most famous as Uncle Phil in hit 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” died on New Year’s Eve aged 68, his publicist said Wednesday.

With a deep baritone voice, Avery regularly played judges, professors or doctors in TV shows in the 1980s and 90s, as well as extensive voice work, including on animated projects.

Last June 3, 2009 file photo shows US actor James Avery arriving at the Palm Pre Launch Event to Benefit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America held at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles, California. AFP Photo
His first big-screen role was an uncredited part in 1980s classic “The Blues Brothers,” and he enjoyed a prolific TV and movie career stretching over three decades.
But the role most people will remember him for is as Philip Banks on the 1990s NBC series, who played a role model to the young Will Smith’s character, a fictionalized rapper version of himself.

“I’m deeply saddened to say James Avery has passed away,” his “Fresh Prince” co-star Alfonso Ribeiro tweeted. “He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”

Born James LaRue Avery in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, he had worked until September, shooting the film “Wish I Was Here” directed by Zach Braff, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month.

Avery died late Tuesday in hospital in Glendale, outside Los Angeles, “due to complications from open heart surgery,” his publicist Cynthia Snyder told AFP in an email.

He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Barbara Avery, his mother Florence Avery, and his stepson Kevin Waters. Plans are being made for a memorial service, the spokeswoman said.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s